The series “Fiktionsbescheinigung” explores the question of how culture in general and cinema in particular are related to society and racism. It is dedicated to the work of Black directors and directors of colour in Germany and sees itself as an experiment in shared curatorial responsibility that also seeks to shine a spotlight on a chapter of German film production that has been unfairly neglected. “Fiktionsbescheinigung” started 2021 with a film program and an extensive online discussion set up.
This time, the film selection was put together by curators Enoka Ayemba and Biene Pilavci, supported by Karina Griffith, Jacqueline Nsiah, Can Sungu and the Berlinale Forum selection committee. Six programmes consisting of short films and feature-length works bring together titles from four decades, including FREMD. YABAN. (2007) by Hakan Savaş Mican, with the wonderful Sema Poyraz in a key role, IN DER WÜSTE (1987), a feature by Rafael Fuster Pardo about two penniless artists in the still-divided Berlin, DRECKFRESSER (Dirt for Dinner, 2000) by Branwen Okpako, a documentary about a Black police officer in post-reunification Saxony, the essay films DIE LEERE MITTE (The Empty Center, 1998) and NORMALITÄT 1-10 (Normality 1-X, 2001), both by Hito Steyerl, and a film from Raoul Peck’s time as a student, MERRY CHRISTMAS DEUTSCHLAND ODER VORLESUNG ZUR GESCHICHTSTHEORIE II (1985).
The curators explain their selection in a statement: “The series sees itself as a snapshot of an ongoing, self-determined process of intervention and protest. Each of the films functions as a suggestion as to how the white German gaze can be countered with diverse, intersectional perspectives, with all of them having one thing in common: their own visual and textual practice of testimony from within, not from the margins.”
We’re interested in the question of belonging. Which films and which filmmakers are recognised and form part of film culture as a matter of course and which aren’t? — Enoka Ayemba